Northern Guatemala is known for it’s rich Mayan history. In ancient times, El Peten was the epicenter of the Mayan civilization. Fortunately, there are dozens of Mayan sites still standing in this area and are open to the public.
Unlike a museum, when visiting these ruins, you are free to explore. Choosing one of the many Mayan sites and spending the day inside the grounds is a great way to spend a day.
Looking up at the ancient structures still standing, you get a sense of why the Mayan civilization is considered so advanced for its age.
Before the Mayans were conquered, Tikal was one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient Maya. This site is very popular, easily accessible and offers informative tours to enrich the experience.
The great thing about El Peten is the wide selection of Mayan sites. On this particular adventure, we travelled 50 km north of Guatemala City to another Mayan site known as Mixco Viejo. It was built on a mountaintop in the 12th century.
The ruins of Mixco Viejo have been well restored. The taller temples provide a great vantage point of the grounds. There are also beautiful serpent heads carved on the sides of the ball courts.